SLS Support to Sussex Inlet Community

On Tuesday 8 January, 2013 the NSW Rural Fire Service issued a Catastrophic Fire Warning for the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and South Coast regions.

A fire had started in Dean’s Gap 1.5 km to the west of Wandandian. The forecasted track of the fire was toward the coastal community of Sussex Inlet.

Just before 4.00pm, the fire crossed over the escarpment and by 7.00pm, crossed the Princes Highway just south of the Sussex Inlet turnoff.

Approximately 3800 hectare of bushland had been destroyed by fire up until 1.30am Wednesday 9 January, 2013.

At 11.15am on 8 January, the South Coast Branch was advised that a request had been received from the Region Emergency Management office for a Surf Life Saving Liaison Officer to be placed at the Shoalhaven Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). This was required in the event that SLS assets along with Marine Rescue NSW were required to undertake evacuation by water of residents and tourists from water front residential and holiday parks in the area.

On assessing requirements with Marine Rescue and NSW Police, the Liaison Officer through the State Operations Centre at Belrose requested that South Coast Branch and Far South Coast Branch callout personnel be contacted and requested to preposition themselves with inflatable & jet rescue boat equipment and communications in Sussex Inlet in the event that all accesses were closed.

The members and clubs that responded are to be congratulated for their immediate response, preparedness and accepting the tasking to go into a potentially hazardous environment.

As a result of our participation Surf Life Saving was able to have 25 members from South Coast and Far South Coast clubs in Sussex Inlet along with 7 Marine Rescue NSW personnel assets.

At 12.30am Wednesday 9 January, 2013 SLS members and assets were stood down.

President of South Coast Branch, Steve Jones, has thanked the South Coast and Far South Coast Branch members who responded to the call to assist the Sussex Inlet Community on a job well done.

"This is a good, solid display of Surf Life Saving training coming to the fore not only for surf rescue but in support to our communities in such events as bushfires," said Jones.

Wed 9 Jan 2013